We all love bikes! They come in different shapes, sizes, and have amazing features that we find quite practical and useful during our rides. But do you know where the bike you are riding is manufactured?
So where are bikes made?
Given the numerous types and designs in the market, there is no one single country that you can say all bikes are made. However, let’s consider some brands in the market:
- Trek: Taiwan and China
- Specialized: Taiwan and China
- Cannondale: Taiwan, assembled in America
- Raleigh: Taiwan
- Schwinn: Taiwan
- Orbea: Spain and China
- Focus: Germany
- Krestel: China
In this article, we will consider the different countries where the leading brands in the bicycle industry manufacture their products.
You will realize that the majority of bikes sold in the USA are produced in Taiwan and China by just a handful of manufacturers; Giant being the largest of them all.
Generally, low to mid-level bike units are manufactured in Asia whereas the high-end bikes are made in Taiwan if not in-house for a few brands. There are other countries that also produce bikes, although Asian factories account for almost 95% of bikes sold in America.
Let us take a closer look at some individual bike brands.
Where are Trek Bikes Made?
The Trek brand of bikes is a major industry player in the United States. After spending a number of years manufacturing its products in the US in its first manufacturing plant in Wisconsin, the company moved the production of entry and middle-level bikes to Asia.
Nowadays, all of their bikes are made in Taiwan and China, except for the Madone 6 series.
These two Asian countries are preferred because of their affordable cost of labor. This, however, does not mean that there is a compromise on quality; the company has a strict quality control policy to make sure that all their products meet the expected standard.
This is what has ensured Trek bikes remain the largest brand in America.
Where are Specialized Bikes Made?
The Specialized bike brand is based in Morgan Hill, California. They do all the research and design, prototyping, and product development at the headquarters.
Once the bicycle has been given its specifications, it is produced by a contract manufacturer in Taiwan.
The main contractor that Specialized bikes use, is called Merida.
Merida has expansive factories that produce quality bikes. The company does not buy and rebrand other people’s products.
This is true for all their middle-level to high-end bikes. The cheaper ones are sometimes made in China.
You’d be interested to know that in 1974, Merida (A Taiwanese manufacturer) bought around 49% equity from Specialized, so it is no surprise that a large part of their manufacturing is in Taiwan.
Where are Cannondale Bikes Made?
Cannondale Bicycle Corporation is a US-based company that also forms part of the Dorel Industries- a Canadian conglomerate that supplies bikes.
Although the company has its HQ in Wilton, Connecticut; its manufacturing and assembly lines are situated in Asia.
To be more specific these factories are located in Taiwan, although some assembling happens in the US.
You might be wondering why Cannondale doesn’t manufacture products in its country of origin? There is only one answer- the cost of labor. You see, the Asian continent is famous for its cheap cost of labor, yet product quality is not sacrificed in any way. This, therefore, becomes a win-win situation for the company.
Cannondale was first owned by its founder Joe Montgomery and Scott, his son, but after facing financial problems it’s now owned by its major investment fund.
Where are Raleigh Bikes Made?
Not long ago, Raleigh was bought by a US management team led by an ex-Murray executive, Bill Austin from its U.K. owners. Nowadays, the company has its headquarters in Kent, Washington, with production coming from Taiwan, Asia. The main suppliers are APro and Kinesis.
Where are Schwinn Bikes Made?
Schwinn bikes are manufactured in Taiwan. The Schwinn Company used to have a bike known as Paramount. At the time this was the firm’s highest end model.
The Schwinn family maintained this name and later on acquired the Paramount factory in Waterford Wisconsin where they started Waterford Precision Cycles.
The name Paramount was retired in 1994 although the company continues to provide restoration services for bikes made before 1994.
At first, production for the Schwinn bikes used to be in the US, but with time competition increased steeply and the company had to start contracting with Bridgestone and Panasonic. These companies were both in Japan and they were contracted to make frames in an effort to cut costs for Schwinn. However, due to mismanagement, the arrangement came to a halt.
Where are Orbea Bikes Made?
Orbea is one of the two leading bicycle manufacturers in Spain; it is basically the Spanish equivalent of Trek. Orbea bikes are made in Spain and Asia, specifically China.
The high-end carbon frames are manufactured in China then assembled and painted in Spain. The company makes aluminum frames in-house whereas carbon fiber frames production (which makes up 50% of Orbea’s road bikes) is outsourced to manufacturing specialists like Martec, who are based in China.
Unlike other industry players who prefer to tweak stock factory frames, carbon fiber frame design, prototyping, and designing are done in-house by Orbea. It makes its own molds, meant for new frames and then assembles a number of prototypes before finally giving the manufacturing specifications to China.
Where are Focus Bikes Made?
Each and every one of the Focus bike models are hand-built in the company’s factory in Hamburg, Germany.
Focus say their bikes are fitted with some of the highest quality components in the market, which then proceed to be assembled by the Wiggle’s team based in the U.K.
Focus is among the few existing brands that do not manufacture their products in the Far East.
Given the trend by most bike companies to contract their production to Asian companies, Focus is without a doubt a “rare entity”. Check the frames on their bikes and you’ll see that it has clearly been labeled “Made in Germany”.
Where are Kestrel Bikes Made?
Kestrel is a US bicycle brand that has carved a niche in the production of high-end bikes for road racing and triathlon.
Revered for being among the pioneers of carbon frames, Kestrel was the first company to produce non-lugged carbon frames in the 1980s.
At first, frames were made in California but in recent years, production has since been moved to Asia, by a Chinese company known as Martec.
It is quite clear that Asia is the leading producer of bikes, even though Europe and America still maintain the monopoly regarding brand numbers. In fact, a large percentage of firms from the Old World decided to outsource production to manufacturers in Taiwan and China.
The only production that is done in-house is for high-end models. However, this should not come as a surprise given the low cost of labor that Asian countries offer companies.
Next to this, we should mention that Japan is home to three carbon suppliers that provide up to 80% of the material worldwide.
The only real exception outside of Asia is the German brand Focus who have retained their independence.